a 21st Century Manager
The workplace is changed over a past
decade. Companies have become more global and workforce is diverse. It is no
secret that managers in 21st century has changed drastically compared
to the management practices by the industrial revolution of
the 21th century. While the last century saw the art of management formalized
in to scientific theories and concept on one of the famous on being Frederick
Winslow Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management (1911). Company have
become more technology based and more challenging that would have been
unimaginable in the 20th century. And the way it Change is something
we tend not to plan for. We just deal with it when it becomes inevitable.(Kamp, 1999).So what is really
happening? And what are the challenges of being a 21st century
manager? Is it the changing workplace or the changing mindset? The emerging
challenges for manager will set a new agenda for company and human resources.
And therefore it is more focused on business impacts and development needs on
being a 21st manager.
A manager is a person who needs to
obtain a quality of a leader and a boss. Moreover being a combination of boss
and a leader is not as easy as it seems not in this 21st century
where there is diverse group of people working in an organization. In older
days, a manager used to supervise the team and project assigned to him, but
currently people changed their views about a manager duty. Nowadays, a manager
needs to work according to the expected result along with the employee
satisfaction in the workplace. In addition a manager needs to adopt with the
changing technology which is happening worldwide. Open source software (Nairn, january 2006)(Pritchett &
associates, 1998), since 1983 the work force in the united states added more
than 25 million computers, and the number of cellular telephone subscriber
jumped from zero in 1983 to 16 million by the end of 1993.In 1993, More than 19
people carried pagers, and close to 12 billion messages were left in voice
The challenges for managers of 21st
century are revolving around coming to understand fully how global business
practices has evolved-based on advances use of technology as well as the
ability to connect with others and to be contacted by others, almost anywhere
and anytime. According to Mr. Pritchett, The truly successful managers and
leaders of the next century will be determined by not by what they know but by
how fast they can learn. They will be characterized not by how they can access
information, but by how they can access the most relevant information and
differentiate it from the exponentially multiplying masses of non-relevant
challenges for 21st century are changing market forces, employee
issues, time Boundaries and leadership competencies.
Changing Market forces
Market forces have
changed in organization at a macroeconomic level, and these forces will demand
more from our organizations and our leader. For these purposes, market forces
can be viewed as the cumulative effects of the behaviour and wants of those in
the market either demanding or supplying a good or service. Hence, these forces
include increasing globalization as well as the creation of increasingly
massive multinational organization through mergers and takeovers. Being more
precise, offering products or services in a variety of countries and cultures,
increases the size of market to be served. Technology has great impact for
reducing the cost of reaching this different geographically dispersed market.
At the same time organization struggle with increasing open and free markets,
they will have to content with an older work force that will find it difficult
to stay of change a supply of labour is more diverse, and individual workers
must possess a greater degree of technical expertise to be successful. At
absolute minimum companies must be able to accommodate diversity. So this can
lead to major challenges for a manager since they need to collaborate with all
the changing market forces. In 1971, Toffler alerted readers to the implication
of rapid advances in technology in general and industrial technology in
particular (Toffler, 1971). As mentioned, improvement in production technology
was critical aspects of our society as it industrialized. and technological
innovation is now accepted without question. Because in this modern times what
is old can rapidly become what is new.
Managers have a thought
of employee issues involve relationship with the staff of an organization. In
21st century, these people issues are increasingly establishing
themselves at centre stage. With their increased complexity and globalization,
organizations are demanding skills and abilities from their leaders that are
only beginning to be understood. In this competitive edge, managers are not
concerned about the organization but also fulfil the needs of employee as well.
Managers need to balance employee needs and also be able to satisfy customer
needs. Thus this is quite harder to achieve since employee can gain better
knowledge in coming years and customers are even smarter on choosing the products.
Managers need to work more efficiently in the coming years. In addition, as the
workforce is more diverse, they should be able to accept individual differences
in the workplace and to look at them as a source of creative energy and
productivity. Managers must become more effective administrator in uncertain
environment. The true test of the manager will be his or her track record in
increasing fluid political, economic and social times.(Drucker, 1968).
Managers hardly get
time to spend their time with family and friends. There will be lots of
conference calls, emails, calls. It can be received through emails, phones, and
other networking sites. So, manager has time constraint. This destroys the
model that company pays an employee. May be, managers get 95% of the salary for
working in office but the other 5% is not paid since it has been worked from
home. So you really can’t manage on time served very well any more. So, the
traditional fences between work time and home time are falling down. Working
parents needs to hers their kids only at the evening. This also destroys the
social life and engaged in more professional life.
Strategic focus and
vision, coupled with a practical sense of when to be flexible and adaptable,
will be most critical for survival. An ability to manage multiple points of
view simultaneously will differentiate the best managers. To keep the high
level goals in sight while managing and tracking day to day success. To
understand equally the points of view and needs of the customer and organization.
To be able to empathize with all the stakeholders in order to develop people,
foster productive change and keep the spirit of the enterprise level. The
evolving nature of business conducted by organization will also call for a
fundamentally different kind of leader. So, managers should be able to
demonstrate flexibility and empathy, while remaining true to core values of the
organization and finding ways to circumvent unpredictable impediments. These
will be people who are inspirational. Technologically savvy but not prone to
getting lost in details. Those who can take organization to the next level are
known to be great leaders. So this can be a fierce competition among the
What are the managerial
skills that are needed in the future in order to tackle all the forces that
have become major challenges in 21st century? Which also includes
values and behaviour such as curiosity, caring, confidence, and courage that
often accompany the learning of the skills? There are various skills that are
required to enhance the knowledge and learning power in this competitive edge.
To become an excellent manager on must be able to have all the skills which
involve global, technical, leadership, communication skill to be as productive
as they can. Simply managerial skills are the knowledge and ability of the
individuals in a managerial position to fulfil specific tasks and activities.
Some of the skills that every managers needs in 21st century is
Learning and innovation
thinking and problem solving
David A. Garvin of the
Harvard Business Review told the New York Times, “I think there’s a feeling
that that people need to sharpen their thinking skills, whether it’s
questioning assumptions or looking at problems for multiple points of view.”
There is one aspect of critical thinking that is vital in today’s leader.
managing ambiguity. The speed of business, intertwined as it is with global
factors and complex supply chains, dictates that you will never know all the
variables. Therefore, managers need to get comfortable with operating in an
environment where change is constant and rapid decisions are required. In a growing
world of uncertainty one thing is certain. Manager will need sharp critical
thinker who can size up the situation, realize the potential where others may
“If you can’t explain
it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Albert Einstein. Whether the
audience is an entire organization or a single individual, effective
communication requires bringing together different points of view and relaying
information without losing clarity or focus. Effective communication must
include listening skill. You can see that this is true in any meeting where
everyone is talking and no one is listening. Are these types of meetings
effective? According to Sonya Hamlin (2006), the author of “How to talk so
people listen, “the world is composed of carious personality types, all of
which affect how a person listen”. Hence a manager needs to know how to listen
and give an appropriate opinion accordingly. Gone are days where in early
people used to just listen to managers. Now the communication must be logical
to make it effective. In addition, Collaboration allows team members to come
together on a common platform and work towards the achievement of a common by
thinking, brainstorming, and offering various perspectives to provide solution.
The world runs today on
various information technologies. It has become a necessity and not an option.
An information system is a component which can increase competitiveness and
gain better information for operational excellence. According to Ein-Dor and
Segev (1978), an information system becomes management information system when it
is applied and improved by managers. In order to gain maximum benefits from
your company’s information system, managers need to exploit all its capacities.
Today, the main focus of companies is to stay globally competitive by
leveraging the capabilities of modern information and communication
technologies. The modern managers require more and more technical skills,
companies are looking for employee who will help manage and operate various
information based tools.
managers should welcome diverse workgroups and lead from the heart, align
vision with passion and unite people. A manager should be able to take
responsibility of all the success and failure of the organizations. He also
should be able to recruit smarter and more creative people. And also do not
take the blame approach and ultimately take responsibility for everything that
happens in the organization. When necessary, hold people accountable to the
vision and their individual responsibilities. They should be driven by purpose,
not ego, power or money.
In conclusion, the
leadership and management needs of today’s successful companies have changed.
In today’s more volatile, uncertain and ambiguous, business battlefield,
decentralized control and leadership through network of people at all levels is
imperative to success. Top managers need to confirm having mindfulness as an
integral part of their routine to be highly functional. The managers of 21st
century must be able to understand his tools and resources, including employee
potentials and effectively manage them in order to lead the team towards
success, achieve goals and beyond.
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